What is Organic Wine?

Question from Bill: What is organic wine and does that make it better?
Reply: Hi, Bill. Thanks for writing! This is a really good question because it’s kind of tricky. We’re really talking about two different things here: Organic wine (fairly rare) and organically-grown wine (quite common).
When the label says "organically grown", it means exactly what it says. The term organic applies to the growing of the grapes but doesn’t have anything to do with winemaking. To make this claim, the producer must also identify which certification agency was used, such as "California Certified Organic". I tend to think that when a winery chooses to use organically grown grapes, they’re less likely to do a lot of cellar manipulation like adding oak chips or Mega Purple, but there’s no requirement in that regard.
If you haven’t noticed a lot of labels with the organically grown designation there are two good reasons. One is it takes up a lot of space on the label to not only say “organically grown” but to also list the certifier. The other is that the organic designation has been shown to actually hurt sales in some cases. Isn’t that odd?
Here’s the deal: Organic wine, a different designation, has given organically-grown wine a bad name. Why? Because, sad to say, most organic wine doesn’t taste so great. The difference is that, on top of the organically grown requirement, the "organic wine" label doesn’t allow for sulfur additions during winemaking. And, without a little sulfur the wine loses its fruit and becomes rather dull in a matter of weeks or months. 

If you’re asthmatic or react badly to sulfites you should shop for organic wine. You’ll probably have to go online to find it. Since most people don’t care for it, there isn’t much available. And if you’re concerned about sulfites, specifically, you should know that all wine has at least a few parts per million because they occur naturally as a byproduct of the fermentation. But organic wine will likely be the lowest in sulfur. You should also know that wine, in general is low in sulfites compared to the many foods with sulfites (mainly processed foods) – the regulations differ.

To get back to the other half of your question, you’ve probably concluded that organically grown wine doesn’t necessarily taste better than non organic. But, of course, it’s much better for the environment and, probably, more healthful!
I hope that helps!
Keep these great questions coming! Cheers!
Send me your wine questions and I'll get back to you in a jiffy!


From: Nancy Miller <wineinsights@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 5:18 PM
To: thetastinggroup@posterous.com



Filed under Uncategorized

8 responses to “What is Organic Wine?

  1. Sachin Agarwal

    Great post! I was wondering about this myself.

  2. Nancy Hawks Miller

    Thanks for the comment, Sachin. Always glad to be of help 🙂 Best to you and Kate!

  3. Really enjoy your web site — excellent material. Thank you

  4. of

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if
    it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

    • Thanks for writing. I’m so sorry about that. Awhile back, I had to move my blog from Posterous to WordPress and I imagine there may be a few bugs as a result. I’ll try to clean up some of these posts when I get a minute. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Cheers! nancy

  5. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or
    copyright violation? My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a
    lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement.
    Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate

    • Hi. Thanks for writing! I haven’t been aware of it happening on my blog, but I haven’t been looking for it either. I get the occasional ping-back when someone refers to my blog or posts a quote. It seems that in the free world of blogging almost anything goes in some people’s thinking. I do believe that you can purchase a service that trolls for stolen material but I don’t know what these services are called. Good luck! Nancy

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